DARKTHRONE - SARDONIC WRATH - 2005 - The End Records
1. Order Of The Ominous 2. Information Wants To Be Syndicated 3. Sjakk Matt Jesu Krist 4. Straightening Sharks In Heaven 5. Alle Gegen Alle 6. Man Tenker Sitt 7. Sacrificing To The God Of Doubt 8. Hate Is The Law 9. Rawness Obsolete
It’s pretty obvious that listening or wearing a Darkthrone shirt has become a status symbol for the ever so clique-y world of underground metal. The mentality behind this phenomenon is that if you posses these materials it instantly makes you more “elite” than all the rest of your peers. Hell, it’s even starting to be noticed in mainstream metal when Phil Anselmo was caught wearing a “Transylvanian Hunger” shirt in Superjoint Ritual and Pantera promotional photos. One of my favorite lines from the absolutely hilarious “Rules of Black Metal” sums things up pretty nicely about Darkthrone’s presence in the black metal world.
Rule #80 “Own every single Darkthrone album, listen to exactly none of them…”
Does this mean that Darkthrone is just underground trendy and musically invalid? Hell no! While the other founding black metal bands have either broken up of or progressed into different territories (with varying success). Nocturno Culto and Fenriz set the standard for what primitive black metal should always sound like: raw, obscure, and never EVER change.
When listening to "Sardonic Wrath", it’s easy to notice that they haven’t strayed very far from their initial style over the past fifteen years. But the subtle changes they’ve made on this new album have improved the band greatly. My biggest beef with some of Darkthrone’s earlier material is that they could occasionally fall into a habit of falling into monotonous repetitiveness, which can be considered trance-like and grim to some people or completely boring to others - pending on your mood at the time. But on this new album, Darkthrone has fine tuned their songwriting approach this time by compressing their riffs into shorter, more compact songs.
With the raw primitive production and clocking in at barely half of an hour, "Sardonic Wrath’s" songs come at you fast and furious leaving you no time to catch your breath at all. The material is staggeringly aggressive, but there are still some really cool musical and vocal hooks that pop up throughout the entire album. One of my favorite songs is “Straightening Sharks in Heaven” which contains a nice mix of early era Voivod and Bathory with the ferocious dissonant guitar riffing with an almost military-like death march drumming by Fenriz. “Sacrificing to the God of Doubt,” which will make want to bang your head and hail Ancient Ones for such headbanging evilness. “Rawness Obsolete” is an absolutely unholy dirge-like doom number that closes out the album on such a cold and grim note. With this album it’s hard to pick the best songs, because this album is completely devoid of and any filler songs whatsoever, it gets right to the point and then leaves you wanting more.
While some black metal bands will spend six months in the studio, going vastly over budget with gratuitous overdubs of keyboard tracks, massively triggered drums, and ever present wispy female vocal parts. Darkthrone recorded and mixed this album in twenty-six hours FLAT and it sounds leagues better than releases by those other so-called black metal bands coming out these days. I can honestly say that this is easily one of my favorite releases to come out this year; this is truly a relevant and powerful release.
Band link: www.darkthrone.no
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